Forces of Mines

by | Apr 8, 2022 | Alumni Network, Spring 2022 | 0 comments

Women of Mines award winners

As more women enter and climb the ranks of science, technology, engineering and math professions, a tight network of allies, advocates and mentors is essential to their success. And that support needs to exist from the time they are first interested in STEM through the extent of their careers.

That’s where the Women of Mines Interest Group comes in. With a new event called Forces of Mines: Elevating Women aimed at utilizing the powerful network that comes with earning a Mines degree, the interest group hopes to open doors in new ways for women in STEM.

We talked to Andrea Passman ’98, the interest group’s current chair, to learn more about the event and why this is an essential step toward supporting women in STEM. This is what we learned.

This inaugural event will bring the Mines community together in a new way to take advantage of the vast network of Orediggers.

On March 5, 2022, the Forces of Mines: Elevating Women leadership and networking summit invited women from across the Mines community to share best practices, discuss the unique challenges women face, network across generations of Mines graduates and more. With many Mines alumni returning to share their perspectives and expertise and engage with other Orediggers, it’s the first step in a new wave of support for women in STEM—specifically Mines women in STEM—and help Mines reach its goal of increasing the number of women enrolled in the university to 40 percent by 2024. 

“One thing all Mines graduates have in common is that we all survived and thrived and got through the challenges of Mines,” Passman said. “We need to be able to help each other through, and that goes all the way from C-suite or CEO or business owner to getting more people to come to the school. We can reinvigorate the women of Mines to pull through from generation to generation and help each other.”

That support starts by bringing together the unparalleled connections, skills and experiences Mines women have and recognizing the mentors, allies and advocates available to help build up future generations.

“It’s a small group, but it’s such a powerful group. We need to be able to leverage that,” Passman said. “This event kicks it off, and then after that, we’re going to start working on building that network out. I’m hoping that what we really see is women come back and realize they don’t have to go it alone. This is really about connecting women so we can make sure we keep pulling generations of women in STEM all the way through.”

Learn more about the Women of Mines Interest Group and get involved at


A network of allies

To recognize Orediggers who have been extraordinary advocates for women in STEM, the Women of Mines Interest Group presented three awards at the inaugural event. 

Michelle Moorman Applegate ’05

Senior Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, Summit Utilities

As an advocate for young girls and women in STEM, Moorman Applegate frequently mentors women in STEM and business fields who are navigating the professional landscape and finding their version of a work-life balance. She serves on multiple boards and volunteers with many organizations in the Denver metro area.

Lia Martinez ’07

Geophysical engineer, Mount Sopris Instrument Company

Martinez is an avid volunteer for K-12 STEM events and actively promotes diversity, inclusion and equity efforts in the geophysical and environmental engineering sectors. She is an active member of Geolatinas, Women Geoscientists of Canada and Women in Mining and also volunteers at many Denver-based nonprofit organizations.

Azlan Tubbs

Mechanical engineering student

Tubbs founded a premedical branch of the American Medical Women’s Association to support and empower women at Mines who are interested in the medical profession. She is also the treasurer for the Society for Women in Math and an officer on the Society of Women Engineers’ executive board, using these positions to elevate and support women and girls in the Mines community through volunteer work and leadership.